People have already obtained information because Wikileaks managed to get hold of some of the secret reports and has released them for all to see.
What has scared so many people and countries is the fact that the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA between Mexico, the United States and Canada has been seen as a disaster with jobs lost, factories closed and disaster economically hitting thousands and thousands of people.
We have tried to cover as much as possible on our web pages and we urge people to learn what they can and protest to their governments now in order to stop this disastrous project before it can go through and ruin us all.
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Trans Pacific Partnership will push medicine prices up, review finds
Economics Editor, The Age
The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership is likely to push up the price of medicines, stop some Australians from taking their medicines and make it harder to restrict the sale of tobacco and alcohol, a comprehensive review of the deal between Australia and 11 other nations including the US and Japan has found.
The so-called health impact statement, compiled by the Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation at the University of NSW relies on leaked texts of draft chapters of the agreement Australia is preparing to seal within weeks.
Although its stated aim is to bring down trade barriers and allow mutual recognition of standards, many of its provisions deal with medicines and make it difficult for member countries to move against foreign-owned corporations.
Trade minister Andrew Robb addresses House on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares
The health impact statement follows Commonwealth guidelines for such statements in place for more than a decade. Although such statements are not required for new projects in the same way as are environmental impact statements, they are an accepted procedure for establishing the impact of new proposals on health.
Prepared by five health specialists from the universities of Sydney, NSW and La Trobe the assessment took 15 months, beginning in late 2013 after some draft texts were published by Wikileaks.
The report says the US is seeking to prevent signatories from refusing to grant patents for minor variations to existing drugs even when there is no evidence of additional benefit. It says the provision would encourage "evergreening" where manufacturers gain extra patents to extend their monopolies in order to ward off competition from generics.
The US is also seeking to lengthen the period during which generic manufacturers cannot use clinical trial data produced by a manufacturer to obtain marketing approval. Under the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia already provides at least five years of protection. The US is seeking at least three extra years of protection for new uses of existing drugs and 12 years for so-called biologic drugs and vaccines.
The provisions in the draft healthcare transparency annex of the agreement would outlaw therapeutic reference pricing, a mechanism for ensuring that the prices paid for medicines reflects their clinical benefit and require more consultation with drug manufacturers about listing and pricing decisions.
"In the past, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has increased patient co-payments in order to accommodate rising costs," the report says.
"A systematic review of evidence from 1990 to 2011 found that co-payments decrease prescription use, can impact patient medicine use compliance, and can adversely impact disadvantaged populations."
The report finds that proposed investor-state dispute settlement procedures would make it difficult for governments to legislate in ways that harmed tobacco, alcohol or food manufacturers.
Trade minister Andrew Robb told Fairfax Media last month that many of the critics had only seen proposals, not what would be in the final agreement.
"I am not going to do something that I think is not in the public interest," he said.
More than 20 chapters long, the text won't be made public until after the trade ministers shake hands at a meeting in Hawaii set down for next month.
The Trans Pacific Partnership encompasses almost 40 per cent of the world's economy: the industrialised nations of Australia, Canada, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, the US and Japan alongside the less developed nations of Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam.